Bears aiming to diffuse Washington's explosive DeSean Jackson


Bears aiming to diffuse Washington's explosive DeSean Jackson

With memories of Torrey Smith’s game-winning 71-yard touchdown still fresh, the Bears began preparations for the Washington Redskins on Wednesday needing to figure out how to diffuse a similarly explosive target. 
Washington’s DeSean Jackson may only have 18 catches for 292 yards this year, but the 29-year-old had receptions of 42, 56 and 63 yards in consecutive November games and caught a game-tying 28-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter against the Dallas Cowboys on Monday night (Washington went on to lose on a last-second field goal). He presents a similar test to the one provided by Smith, which the Bears’ secondary spectacularly failed Sunday at Soldier Field.
“You just gotta be sound in your coverage, sound in your technique and your eyes and not have any lapses when you’re lined up against (speed guys),” cornerback Tracy Porter said. “And if you do have any against those guys, they’ll make us pay the same way Torrey Smith did.”
The way to mute Jackson, Porter explained, doesn’t begin and end with pressing and re-routing him off the line of scrimmage. It most of all takes proper technique, since without it, Jackson is able to blow past defensive back and deliver the kind of big-chunk plays on which he’s built his eight-year NFL career. 
[RELATED: Bears move on at tight end with Martellus Bennett out]
“The guy’s extremely fast,” Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said. “And unlike a lot of guys that are extremely fast, he’s fast in a hurry. His first few steps, he gets into high gear quicker than anybody.”
It’s not just Fangio and the Bears’ secondary that has to be worried about Jackson, though. The Bears’ punt coverage team has to be prepared for Jackson to get loose, as he tried — in an egregiously disastrous fashion  — to do against Dallas. From near the 25-yard line on the far sideline, Jackson tried to cut back to the near sideline, ran all the way to the precipice of the Washington goal line, then fumbled just before 10-yard line. The Cowboys quickly converted that fumble into their only touchdown on Monday night. 
While Jackson hasn’t returned a punt for a touchdown since 2010, the last one he housed won’t be forgotten anytime soon. His walk-off punt return touchdown against the New York Giants on Dec. 19, 2010 helped push the Philadelphia Eagles into the playoffs and is regarded as one of the best plays in NFL history. 
Count Bears special teams coordinator Jeff Rodgers as someone who has that monumental return in the front of his mind this week. 
“You get plenty of respect from special teams coaches because we all remember those type of plays,” Rodgers said. He then pointed to former Kansas City Chiefs returner Dante Hall, who had a penchant for turning the kind of return attempted by Jackson against Dallas into a touchdown. 
[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bears fans!]
“There’s a lot of returns, you’re watching him saying, ‘you gotta be kidding me — oh, good, good, yeah, touchdown,’” Rodgers said. “There’s a lot of things that returners have an innate ability to have big plays and covering that kind of thing, as long as your guys are disciplined, you think that you got a chance but a guy with his speed, the longer the play goes, the more likely it is that he’s going to be able to get to the edge and that’s something that I believe he was trying to do. It think Dallas did a good job covering that thing. He’s an explosive guy and you certainly gotta be aware that he’s back there.”
But given it’s been five years since Jackson scored on a punt return, the onus will be on the Bears’ secondary to keep the ball out of the explosive Washington receiver’s hands on Sunday.
“DeSean anytime can make a play for us,” Washington quarterback Kirk Cousins said. “You never know when it’s going to happen based on play calls and coverages and that kind of thing, but he’s always ready and able. We gotta get him involved, we’ve done a good job of getting him opportunities the last few weeks and he’s made good on them. 
“He’s a difference-maker for us, a talented player and we just gotta keep finding ways to get him the football and get him chances to go make plays.” 

Mitch Trubisky will reportedly start for the Bears' Week 7 matchup with the New Orleans Saints

Mitch Trubisky will reportedly start for the Bears' Week 7 matchup with the New Orleans Saints

We'd been circling this news all week, and now it's getting closer to reality: late Saturday night, Adam Schefter reported that QB Mitch Trubisky will be under center for the Bears' matchup with the Saints this Sunday:

Trubisky was a full participant in practice from Wednesday to Friday of last week, but had still been listed as questionable up to this point. He returns after dislocating his left shoulder in Week 4 against the Vikings and missing the team's Week 5 loss to the Raiders.

The news comes at a crucial juncture of the season for the Bears, who are currently 3-2 and in third place in the NFC North.

Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of the Bears.

Puppy Pick 'Em Puppy Walter makes his Week 7 picks for Bears-Saints

Puppy Pick 'Em Puppy Walter makes his Week 7 picks for Bears-Saints

When the Bears announced their 2019 schedule, we decided to have some puppies reveal the opponents. Now, we have taken it a step further. We have a puppy that will make weekly picks for the Bears games.

It is Week 7!

Walter's choices in Week 7 are a chance to go to Mardi Gras or a celebration of St. Patrick's day in Chicago. Bears fans should be excited about his decision in Week 7... and now we're all looking forward to St. Patrick's Day again!

The 12-week old dachshund was hand-selected by the scouts at NBC Sports Chicago and hails from One Tail at a Time rescue. He came from a shelter in Alabama and was transported to Chicago.  At just 7 weeks old and without his mom, he beat a deadly virus and spent some time in the doggie ER, where he healed and became strong again. 

Now, Walter is ready to rumble between the well-manicured lines of Sweetness Field. He is NOW adoptable via and has two adorable sisters named Martha and Millie, who are already adopted. 

Walter will pick the games throughout the NFL season, including the playoffs and we hope that his nose follows the scent to the Bears every week, all the way to that magical game in Miami in February. Narrated by Jason Benetti, play-by-play announcer for the White Sox.  

It is time for Puppy Pick ‘Em presented by Nissan.

To learn more: